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E2open's Top 5 Supply Chain Trends for 2012

With 2012 right around the corner, supply chain managers are reviewing next years plans, fine-tuning strategies, making budgets and thinking about poss...

Freddie Pierce
|Dec 14|magazine7 min read

With 2012 right around the corner, supply chain managers are reviewing next year’s plans, fine-tuning strategies, making budgets and thinking about possible technology investments. To complete this laundry list before the New Year begins, it is important to have a forecast of what’s to come.

Below are Mark Woodward’s, CEO of E2open, list of the top five supply chain trends of 2012 to help supply chain managers prepare for what’s to come in the New Year.

1. Exceptions are the new normal – Factors beyond our control influence the supply chain- the economy, natural disasters, defective parts. Complete visibility into your supplier, and your supplier’s supplier, is required to respond and resolve issues as exceptions arise.   As  competition continues to raise the bar, this capability is not just an operational imperative for brand owners, it’s a strategic imperative. As  competition continues to raise the bar, this capability is not just an operational imperative for brand owners, it’s a strategic imperative.

2. Shift from “planning is everything” to “execution is key”– The natural disasters that took place in 2011 taught us that no matter how much planning you do, execution is what pays the bills. In 2012, supply chain managers will focus more on strategies to ensure products are being delivered using real-time information, not yesterday’s plan.  Collaborative execution is key to this approach.

3. Rapid resolutions driven from trading network partners – Excel spreadsheets don’t cut it for global supply chain networks. More companies will begin investing in technology that can help businesses communicate changes with their suppliers and partners for fast responses to changes in forecasts, orders, inventory and other key data points.

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4. Emphasis on big data –It’s about the continuous monitoring of trading networks.  Don’t assume existing algorithms will automatically produce the right answer, if anything we have found that it’s about the people and knowledge in the networks to harness creativity and respond to unforeseen situations.

5. Convergence of digital and physical supply chains – Digital and Physical Supply Chains will continue to converge this year. Integrating the digital and physical supply chains will deliver faster, more efficient execution of products and services. Companies need a plan that considers both components.

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Edited by Kevin Scarpati